Wednesday, February 05, 2020

05-Feb-20: What do Palestinian Arabs think?

Abbas in better times [Image Source]
The opinions of Palestinian Arabs are, to a great extent, a puzzle.

By that, we don't mean what their elites say they think. Or what outside reporters guess are their opinions. It's not a free or open society. It doesn't have unrestricted media - quite the opposite. And it hasn't had elections for well over a decade.

So, as we keep saying in this blog, what Palestinian Arabs tell trusted fellow Palestinian Arabs who are professional opinion pollsters about the things they actually believe is a subject always worth revisiting. (The last time we did that was here: "04-Jun-19: What do Palestinian Arabs think?")

Our previous poll-centered posts have centered on the published data of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) headed by Dr. Khalil Shikaki. Click here to go to those previous posts - we started analyzing and reporting on  them in 2011. 

We're doing that again now based on PSR's most recent Public Opinion Poll, number 74, which was published [here] on December 26, 2019. 

The polling was done both in the Fatah/PLO-controlled West Bank and in the Hamas-occupied Gaza Strip in the period December 11 to 14. Total size of sample: 1,200 adults interviewed face to face in 120 randomly selected locations. Margin of error +/-3%.

‣ President Abbas?

Mahmoud Abbas became president of the Palestinian Authority in the January 2005 elections. That was a four-year term that has famously just 'celebrated' its fifteenth birthday. Hard to avoid the conclusion that elections are not so popular among the mostly-elderly, mostly-wealthy Palestinian Arab insiders who control the operation.

Abbas' power is broad. Beyond the PA role, he holds these additional titles in parallel:
The data show that the people he rules don't seem to like him much. 

As of this past December, 61% of the Palestinian Arab public wanted Abbas to resign, exactly the same percentage as three months earlier. This is split between the 52% of West Bank Arabs who hold that view (higher than the percentage 90 days earlier) and the no-less-than-73% of Gazans who want to see Abbas leave office immediately.

‣ A Two-State Solution?

How much support is there among Palestinian Arabs for the concept of a two-state solution? Just 42%. Now ponder this: Fully two-thirds of all Palestinian Arabs say it's the US "declaration of the legality of Israeli settlements according to international law" that blocks the two-state solution.

It evidently doesn't occur to them that their own pretty strong opposition is, let's say, part of the problem. Not for the first time, we get the sense that in Palestinian Arab society, the population don't see themselves as causing things to happen. Rather, they're a people to whom things are done by others.

‣ War or peace?

What's their "most preferred way out of the current status quo":
  • "Armed struggle": 39% (which is slightly up on the number of three months earlier)
  • "Reaching a peace agreement with Israel": 29%
  • "Waging a non-violent resistance" (what they mean by this is unspecified): 14%
  • "Keep the status quo": 15%. 
Identify "the most effective means of ending the Israeli occupation":
  • "Armed struggle": 47% (three points higher than three months ago)
  • "Popular resistance": 20%
  • "Negotiations": 26%
In view of how "the peace negotiations are suspended", which alternative directions (more than one is acceptable) do they support?: 
  • "Popular non-violent resistance": 60%
  • "A return to an armed intifada": 52%
  • "Dissolving the PA": 42%
  • "Abandoning the two-state solution and demanding the establishment of one state for Palestinians and Israelis": 28%
‣ Their society's most vital goals?
  • Option 1: "To end Israeli occupation in the areas occupied in 1967 and build a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital": 44%
  • Option 2: "To obtain the right of return of refugees to their 1948 towns and villages": 33%
  • Option 3: "To build a pious or moral individual and a religious society, one that applies all Islamic teachings": 13%
  • Option 4: "To establish a democratic political system that respects freedoms and rights of Palestinians": 9%
‣ The most serious problem confronting Palestinian society today?
  • "The continuation of occupation and settlement activities": 28%
  • Poverty and unemployment: 26%
  • "The spread of corruption in public institutions": 26%
  • "The siege of the Gaza Strip": 17%
A final note. In polling to see how they view the future of Palestinian Arab society, the words "child" and "children" don't appear in either the questions or the responses. That's sad.

[This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("Co myślą palestyńscy Arabowie?") by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.]

No comments: